Ag Oxijet™ Design Story
Established in 1968, Felton Industries Ltd is a NZ owned and operated manufacturer of tapware and showerware based in Auckland. All Felton products are still proudly designed and finished in Auckland and we are known for introducing the first shower mixing valve that worked well on NZ's unequal pressure systems. With some of the best designers in the industry, Felton is committed to delivering innovation, design and technology.
A recent breakthrough shower technology is the Oxijet, an award winning water saving technology which was the outcome of collaboration with CSIRO, Australias leading multidisciplinary research organisation. The Oxijet uses flow energy to draw air into the water stream. The Oxijet works by jetting the water through 4 tiny nozzles, and sucking air into the stem of the shower rose. The air volumises and pressurises the water, creating tiny air bubbles within the water stream that burst when they touch your skin. This results in a more luxurious shower experience and in many mains pressure situations the Oxijet pays for itself in water and energy savings.
New Zealand is the worlds largest exporter of dairy commodities, representing one third of international dairy trade each year. NZ farmers receive no subsidies, which has encouraged a focus on low cost, high productivity farming systems. With the rising costs of effluent management, compliance and water restrictions across New Zealand, introducing a water saving agricultural nozzle made sense.
Image: Edgecumbe Dairy Farm
Building on the success of Oxijet the engineers at Felton decided apply Oxijet technology to an agricultural wash down nozzle in 2013. Assuming that a conventional nozzle delivers approx. 200 l/min and 2x 30min yard washes are done per day in milking season, water consumption can amount to in excess of 12,000 l/day per cowshed. In such a scenario, any reasonable amount of water savings would translate into reduced operating costs for the farmers.
We worked closely with dairy farmers to develop the Ag Oxijet and work on the initial prototype began by gaining an understanding of the key needs and wants of farmers in relation to water saving and the performance of a typical wash down nozzle used for main dairy yards. This was conducted by Feltons engineering team and was achieved through extensive field trials and in-depth interviews with farmers spread across 30 North Island farms.
Images: Ag Oxijet concept drawings
These field trials gave the engineers an opportunity to directly engage with the dairy farmers and understand their individual farm settings and wash down habits. The feedback from these trials, although positive in terms of water savings and performance, suggested more areas for product improvement. It quickly became apparent that durability and serviceability were equally as important as water savings. Typical plastic nozzles existing in the market tend to last for a season or two and farmers end up incurring substantial costs in replacing them.
Working backwards from this feedback, our product designers re-conceptualized the nozzle in metal and introduced the concept nozzle at Fieldays in 2015, where it won the Tru-Test Grassroots Innovation Award. Fieldays 2015 gave us another invaluable opportunity to engage with the farming community, and we gathered more feedback to improve the product further.
Image: Felton Fieldays stand, June 2015
Image: Ag Oxijet concept nozzle 2015
Over the last 12 months, the Ag Oxijet has evolved. With the inclusion of our Oxijet water saving technology and depending on the water pressure and their yard situation, can offer dairy farmers significant water saving of up to 30%.
Image: Final Ag Oxijet
Image: Ag Oxijet Exploded View
Image: Ag Oxijet Features and Benefits
Image: Ag Oxijet Concept
Manufactured from metal, the patented Ag Oxijet nozzle is more robust compared to the conventional plastic nozzles used for washing down main yards on the market and is anodised to better withstand chemical and mechanical decay. The Ag Oxijet has a Bumper Protector with an ergonomic grip that is suitable for use in all weather conditions. This also protects the body and nozzle from drag and drop damage. The single on/off turn industrial grade nylon shut off fits onto a 40mm (1 1/2 inch) hose. The Ag Oxijet is also provided with a 6mm allen key for easy servicing and spare parts are readily available.
The nozzle is backed by a 2 year warranty. To make the Ag Oxijet more cost effective over time, Felton offers service kits so users can replace individual parts instead of buying a whole new nozzle.
The Ag Oxijet is designed and made in New Zealand and is based on the user centred design (UCD) principle that revolves around the user needs, wants and limitations. After 4 years of product testing and refinement, listening to our end consumers, Ag Oxijet has evolved into a more versatile and value-added product compared to when it was initially conceived. What started as a water-saving concept has developed into a truly innovative product that not only saves water costs, but also helps dairy farmers in reducing their effluent output.
The Ag Oxijet can be used in any volume wash application including marine and mining industries or for washing down trucks, yards and food processing.